Ian Gillan &amp Tony Iommi: WhoCares – [Album]

Monday, 27 August 2012

Homer once said that “The charity that is a trifle to us can be precious to others.” There's no debating that wisdom but, as WhoCares' debut album proves, it is possible for a charitable effort to be recognized and appreciated by everyone too. Spurred by the incredibly well-received charity single that Ian Gillan and Tony Iommi released last year, this monster of a compilation arrives with a mind to capitalize on the surprising favor of the single but manages to deliver a worthwhile compilation loaded with old material that was once generally disregarded, and some rare or previously unreleased gems featuring members of Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Metallica and more.

After recapping the single from last year (“Out Of My Mind” leeads disc one off and its B-side, “Holy Water,” leads off disc two), this set immediately gets eyes widening as “Zero The Hero” (one of the ill-fated tracks from Sabbath's only Gillan-fronted flop Born Again) rocks harder than anyone could possibly have remembered before “Slip Away” (a rare track from Tony Iommi's 2005 solo album, Fused) makes sure jaws are on the floor, for the sheer power of the performance alone (though the vocal performance by Glenn Hughes is pretty spectacular as well).

There is still more gold to be discovered (and devils in the long-forgotten details) on disc two of this set. While “Anno Mundi” is a little closer to coal in color *as are “Can I Get Witness” and “Hole In My Vest,” which illustrate that, yes, two hard rockers can still be two dippy hippies too), “Let It Down Easy” (also from the aforementioned Fused sessions of 2005) is the sort of song which will have Iommi fans wondering what could possibly have possessed everyone from thinking it shouldn't have been on the album, while the acoustic radio performance of “When A Blind Man Cries” should rate as essential listening for any and all Deep Purple archivists.

So, after the glowing response to the “Out Of My Mind” single last year, how does this two-disc set rate? While it probably could have been pared down to a single-disc comp (disc two sags pretty heavily in the middle, and the last two songs on disc one could have been left off if a single disc had been ordered), there's no doubt that fifty percent of WhoCares is worth visiting and/or revisiting. Some of this stuff got left behind because it was sunk into last-gasp sets by bands who appeared to be on their way down, but that doesn't mean it's all worth forgetting; some of these songs do need to be heard.



Ian Gillan & Tony Iommi: WhoCares
(2CD) is out now. Buy it here on Amazon .

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